Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sweet Home Manama

I had the privilege of commuting to Bahrain from Dubai between 2000 and 2003, then I moved there and lived on the Island for 18 months between January 2003 and June 2004. Recent events there don't surprise me, but they do tear at my heart. The islanders are wonderful people, and they do have legitimate grievances. I am going to repost a few diary notes over the next few days of my time on the island. They will make you smile, and if you are the praying kind, I hope they will give you a compassionate heart to pray for the Island

There must be few countries in the world where the taxi drivers seem indifferent to how much you pay them. Bahrain is an exception. On Wednesday my first taxi ride was in something from the 1960’s with a front passenger seat which kept collapsing on the person in the back. The meter’s wires were sticking out of the dashboard like two friendly caterpillars.

“How much?”
“As you like”, came the reply. I gave him a Dubai fare for the equivalent distance, his smile said
“A few more passengers like her, and I’ll be able to sell this wreck”.

Later I was picked up by a young Bahraini taxi driver, in a slightly newer model (1970’s).

“I’m saving to go to school, to learn English properly”
“How much for the ride?”
“As you like.”

Driver three picked me up after I’d had strolled for an hour after my last appointment along the beach road. One of the few days in the year when it would be cool enough to attempt. My feet however were beginning to feel 12 months lack of activity.

“How much to the airport?”
“Three dinars”
“ Oh dear, I only have 2 left”
“ No problem”
The journey is spent talking about the relative merits of the island for fishing. I get out at the airport, having been given the taxi driver’s telephone number, should I need a “chauffeur” the next time I’m in Bahrain.
“Madam if you only have 2 Dinars, keep it!” I didn’t of course, and we left saying farewells like long lost cousins.

© by Sparrowchatter 2011


ParisBreakfasts said...

Wonderful story!
How kind these people are.
I had similar experiences in Tehran not in taxis though :)

Linda said...

Oh, yes! Bahrainis are soooooooooo special. Thanks for posting this!